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Judge to public officials: Blocking people on social media is cardinal sin under First Amendment

Staff Writer |
A federal judge ruled against a Virginia public official, saying she violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent who she blocked on Facebook.

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The plaintiff Brian Davison sued Louden County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall after she blocked him from a Facebook page she promoted as a vehicle to communicate with constituents.

Davison used the page to accuse members of the Loudon County School Board of official corruption.

Randall deleted the post and blocked Davison from viewing any subsequent posts.

District Court Judge James Cacheris ruled in Davison's favor, finding Randall violated Davison's First Amendment rights by blocking him from reading government information that was otherwise available to the public.

Cacheris said Randall did not have the right to ban Davison from accessing public information "because she was offended by his criticism of her colleagues in the county government."

Because Randall used her Facebook page to disseminate information about government, blocking users was "a cardinal sin under the First Amendment," Cacheris ruled this week.

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